13
Jan
13

Flashback part 2

Flashback part two

We waited, not ready and not wanting to move against a Sith. Not yet anyway. They took Sara deeper into the smoke filled entry way. Sydor and I waited. We regrouped back behind a large storage crate.

“What do we do, Dimbo?” Sydor asked me.

“We get her back. Let’s head in there and see what we find. Stay focused and alert.”

As Sydor and I made our way over to Xifer’s body we were exposed. I took an over watch so Sydor could examine him. “He was killed point blank executed, but he has defensive wounds. He put up a fight till the end.”

Sydor placed his hands over Xifer eyes and closed them.

“Let’s move him to the exit and then go after Striker,” Sydor said.

“No leave him here for now; if we move him someone might clue in on the fact we are really here,” I responded. “I promise, if we can, we’ll come back from him.”

Sydor nodded. He took the defensive position behind me and we headed into the mountain entrance, into the unknown, into the smoke.

When the smoke cleared about ten feet into the mountain, we could see a red glow reflecting off the rocks; red from the lava below. It looked as though the Imperials had cleared out various passages and work areas. They were mining something from inside the Volcano. What, I didn’t know or really care. Our mission, with ship trackers in place, was to get our man back. The majority of the machinery in the cave was shut down due to it being after midnight, but the machinery left running made enough noise that we could both move through the tunnels without worrying about creating too much noise. We moved from machine to machine looking around for any signs of Sara or any Imperials.

We saw blue glow coming from one of the passages that was farther into the cave, so we made our way toward it hoping it was something that could lead us to Sara. There, in a single cell, we found Sara. Sydor and I cleared the room and found nothing. I hit the release on the cell controls. Sydor pulled Sara out, she was unconscious and hunched over, he injected her with a strong dose of Kolto. I kept watch over the only exit, the way we had just came from. Sara began to open her eyes almost immediately.

“What’s… what’s going on?” she asked in a bit of a haze.

“You’re going to be ok, Striker. Dimbo and I are going to get you out of here.” Sydor said to Sara, “Dimbo she’s ok, a medium concussion but she can walk.”

“Roger, when she’s ready let’s get out of here,” I replied.

No sooner had the words left my mouth then did I hear the Sith’s voice. “Leaving so soon?”

There he stood only ten feet in front of me, almost appearing out of no where. Sara had gotten to her feet, Sydor gave her his rifle, and he was now armed with his blaster pistol. Then a platoon of 20 Imperial troops appeared behind the Sith.

We were trapped. They used Sara as bait and we had taken a big bite. “Get ready,” I whispered.

“I was just getting to know your female friend here, and now you want to take her away?” said the Sith.

If it was just the soldiers, the three of us against the twenty of them, I wouldn’t worry too much. We were well seasoned vets, but add a Sith into the mix and this was shaping up to be not such a good day.

“Now little Republic soldiers tell me what you are doing here and maybe I’ll kill you quickly,” the Sith said with his hands folded across his chest.

I stared at him in the dimly lit room. “Well, we were looking for some buried treasure back on the beach, but got a bit lost,” I laughed, gesturing with my hand and quickly removed a small sticky grenade from my belt and threw it right toward the Rattaki’s chest. He merely waved his hand reflecting it off to his right and it landed on a console, just as I had hoped.

“You dare mock me! I am a Sith Lord, apprentice to a Darth on the Dark Council! You…you pathetic excuse for a soldier will suffer!” He drew his lightsaber and activated its crimson blade.

3…2…1… I counted in my head, as my grenade exploded, it took out the power in the room including the lights. It also knocked out about ten of the Imps behind the Sith. This could still work.

I activated my night vision and charged directly at the Sith. At the last second I slid on the ground under him between his legs jumped to my feet and stormed into the middle of platoon ramming an Imperial soldier right in the chest with my rifle. I opened fire into the stunned troops. They were not ready for battle, thinking their Lord Sith would easily dispose of me, Sydor and the injured Sara. Sydor and Sara opened fire on the Sith who had turned around when I passed him, shell shocked I had out maneuvered him. They had the Sith pinned down with blaster fire giving us all a fighting chance for the moment.

I kicked, stomped on, head butted and stock struck the soldiers closest to me then rolled toward an opening in the wall for some make-shift cover. Blaster bolts flew over my head and the Imps did well to not give me any opening to fire.

I activated a smoke grenade and threw it at the Imps feet. The charge was low on my rifle so I swapped out my power pack, my last one. I took off my helmet and threw it off to the side to draw fire. They opened up fire on it quick; this gave me a chance to lay down a barrage of blaster bolts. After taking out almost all of them with my blaster fire, I then ducked back down and the four remaining Imps began to rush me. I stormed toward them, running faster then I ever had, at least if felt that way. I jumped in the air toward the closest Imp and smashed in his face with the butt of my rifle. I shot another point blank right in the chest and the two both lunged for my arms. One of them caught me on the forehead with a vibroblade and I felt the blood dripping from my brow. With both of them so close I slapped a sticky grenade on one of their chests and he looked down in horror, then he turned and grabbed frantically at the device trying to remove it. The remaining Imp soldier came at me with his vibroblade. I side stepped his attack, grabbed his wrist and turned his knife back on him. Losing the blade in his own chest, he fell to the ground. I jumped behind a computer console as the other Imp exploded. All that was left now was to defeat the Sith and get us all to safety.

The Sith had Sydor and Sara pinned down. He was deflecting their blaster bolts back at them, but they put down enough fire that he was unable to move forward. I wiped the blood from my brow and comm’d Sydor. “Listen up, when you think the time is right you get Sara out of here, get her back to base, I’ll deal with the Sith.”

“But Dimbo!” he started.

“No buts! You do it! That’s an order.”
“WILCO,” he replied with a grunt. I moved from behind the console and opened up a barrage of blaster fire on the Sith. Bolts now coming from both sides he started to move back toward a wall so he could deflect the shots from both angles giving Sara and Sydor a path toward the door. Sydor and Sara converged on my position giving us the advantage for the moment and giving them an opening toward the door.

“Give ‘um hell,” Sara said as she limped by. I nodded.

The Sith filled with anger and rage realized the game we were playing. “Enough!” he yelled and unleashed bolts of white lightning from his hands and into Sara. She fell limp to the floor, smoke pouring from her armor. Sydor grabbed her by the collar, and then turned and ran dragging her with him.

I launched two frag grenades from my rifle and continued my relentless blaster fire. The Sith was forced to turn his attention back to me as my friends escaped. The Sith continued to deflect my own blaster bolts back at me. A few well aimed deflections struck my chest and grazed my armor at the shoulders. He was toying with me and he was closing the gap. His anger and hate for me allowed my friends to get away. I pulled at the trigger of my rifle again and nothing happened. I checked the power pack, empty. I searched for another but I had none, I had come unprepared. I looked on the ground, no weapon in sight.

“Haha, out of juice are we good soldier?” said the Sith.

“Just trying to make things interesting,” I replied. Then I sprinted toward him rifle in hand, what else was there to do? I jumped rifle ready to smash his face and that’s when I felt the tightness in my throat. I didn’t land from my jump. My rifle fell to the ground as my hands grabbed desperately at my throat and my feet danged in the air. The Sith held his lighsaber in one hand and his other was raised in a cupping motion. I then realized the pressure I felt on my throat was something through the force; he was choking me. I started to see white spots and the Sith was drifting in and out of the blackness in my view.

The white spots got bigger and the blackness more often. I felt myself fading away. Then I heard the Sith scream and I fell to the floor. His lightsaber hit the floor next to him as he grasped at his chest and at the pointed side of a vibroblade driven right through his heart, if he still had one. He fell over dead my eyes heavy, my body fatigued from the loss of oxygen, I faded into the black.

28
Sep
12

Flashback part 1

Flashback part One

Sleeping in hyperspace was never strength of mine. I got out of my rack and made my way up to the cockpit to check on T7. None of us are pilots so I had left him in charge of the night watch. Corellia was our destination, located in the Core World’s sector. It was looking like a four day trip, probably shorter if we had a better calculated jump. I needed to work on getting us an actual pilot.

When I walked into the cockpit I waved to T7 as he beeped excited to have a visitor. I checked the Nav plot, I could fly fighters in a pitch but a starship was a bit out of my reach, but it felt like something I should do. Afterward I headed aft, back to the galley and made a pot of caf. I sat down at the dining table to think. This was an interesting assignment. Zotta and I had just dealt a major blow to the Empire by breaking up their main operation on Taris, I had killed Stalk, Lechelle had lost both her parents, and now we were on a slow cold trail toward ‘the General.’ Before that I had just finished training on Ord Mantell.

“What is troubling you my friend?” Zotta’s voice came from behind me. He moved to the other side of the table and sat across from me.

“Couldn’t sleep?” he asked.

“Yeah, something like that…” My voice trailed off as I looked away.

“Your mind is heavy Leftenant, please tell me. Perhaps I can lighten the burden.”

“I’ve just been thinking about stuff, everything that’s been going on… and a secret I’ve keep from you and Lechelle.”

Zotta only nodded.

Ord Mantell. My thoughts fell to the events I had just experienced not two months ago. This wasn’t your regular Special Forces training, we were way past that. This was Havoc Squad training. The four of us were all that was left of a class of twenty. One week away from graduation, we were a four man fireteam (strike team) with our last mission in front of us. Only this time it wasn’t a training op. This time it was for real. The resistance on Ord Mantell had grown so much, our training officer Lieutenant Jorgan didn’t have a choice. A covert team was needed to infiltrate a separatist base, and we were it. Myself, second in command of our squad, a weapons and combat specialist, Xifer a green skinned male Twi’lek, a skilled sniper and demo expert. Sydor, our combat medic and slicer, a Zabrak male with lightly tanned skin and lastly our squad’s team leader Sara, but we all called her ‘Striker’, a female Zabrak, with a slender figure. She had white and pink skin with a crown of horns on her head no different then the rest of her species. We were… well let’s just say we had been having fun in our off time. All of us were competing for the last spot in Havoc, any of our valuable skill sets would be a generous asset. But they were looking for one of us to join. Our target was simple: a big storage facility backed up against a mountain. Recon and Intel reported it was storing a large shipment of weapons and supplies bound, not for separatist, but for the empire’s efforts on Balmorra.

Other teams capable of handling this were off world and the four of us had worked and trained long enough to handle it. After our briefing we were dropped via transport about two clicks off shore and used a small boat to get to shore. It was midnight before we made shore and had our team meeting. Sara spoke first.

“Listen, we all know we’re competing for the same thing, but tonight isn’t about that. We have a mission, a duty to the Republic. Plus it’s a chance to do some damage to Imps.” She turned and looked to me.

I nodded, “Exactly. This is bigger then us, now this is our game plan; Xifer and I are going to set up on the mountain ridge in front of the west side door. Striker and Sydor will make their way to the door and slice in, once clear Xifer and I will follow.” Both Sydor and Xifer nodded in confirmation.

We stashed our small boat under some shore brush, did a final gear check, and split up into our pairs. I was short a power pack, but didn’t say anything; the damn thing must have fallen out in the water. We made our way to the ridge above the building; it would be a perfect spot for Xifer to pick off any roving patrols or curious sentries while Sydor took care of the door.  We took our positions on the ground, Xifer as the shooter and me as his spotter, well out of my weapons range. I looked through a high power pair of binoculars. The west door had only three guards. It wasn’t used for entry and exit, it was more of a private door for the supplies that sometimes went missing.

“Check one, Echo one.” Sara’s voice came across our comms channel.

“Roger Echo one, Echo two Lima Charlie.” I replied Lima Charlie, meaning loud and clear. With her and Sydor in position we waited. A roving sentry should be around soon, better to take on just the three guards than have one come around the corner with time to sound the alarm. As Xifer sighted in his scope we set wind points and waited. In our off times during training we had laughed and joked together, but not here, not on a mission. A distracted soldier was a dead soldier. After about twenty minutes the sentry came around the corner and stopped to chat with the three guards. They traded power cells for their radios and then the sentry continued on his way. We waited for another five minutes until we were sure he was gone.

Xifer was sighted in and Sara made the call over comms, “Scorpio.” The command to fire. Positioned as they were Xifer’s job was to take out two of the guards while Sara closed to the third to take him down with her vibroblade. Xifer fired and silently one guard fell next to his comrades: a head shot. Both the remaining guards turned to look at the fallen man and in the time they did Xifer fired again, taking down a second. Xifer and I packed up and rolled out heading down the ridge to the door to meet up with the others. Sara had closed the gap between her and the last guard. The guard, in shock from his two fallen comrades turned around to use his radio, he never had a chance to click the comm-button before Sara drove her vibroblade under his chin and into his head. Xifer and I were still in route when Sydor and Sara started slicing the door. As we rounded the last part of the ridge I saw the roving sentry coming back to the west door, not on his usual path. I’m not sure if he had forgotten something or what his motivation was for changing his path, but he was pressed up against some brush lurking in the shadows watching Sara and Sydor work. I said nothing over comms as to not startle Sara. There was no reason to let this sentry know that they weren’t alone. I snuck up behind him and stock struck him with the butt of my rifle right in the back of his neck. There were two sounds, the snap of his neck breaking and the thud of him falling to the ground.

“All clear,” I said over the comms. “But I’d guess we have five or ten minutes before that sentry misses a check in.”

“Roger, I’m almost in,” Sydor said. With our backs up against the wall myself, Xifer and Sara formed a barrier while Sydor worked.

“Finally,” Sydor said, as the access panel clicked open.

I opened the door a crack and then a crack more to insure there was no trip wire or device on the door. I made entry followed by Sara, Xifer and then Sydor. We were in a small hallway, dimly lit. This entrance was meant for shady business, not VIP’s. Slowly we made our way up the hallway and into a big storage area. It opened up into something similar to a hanger bay. There were pallets of supplies all around us. We used some for cover and quietly made our way over to the transport. No marking or identification on it, but according to our Intel this was the transport that would be taking the supplies to Balmorra.

Sydor and I approached the transport to place server trackers on it, while Xifer and Sara cleared the rest of the hanger.

“Echo two, Echo one, we found something on the far side of the hanger; an opening or something, moving in for a closer look,” Sara said over comms.

“Roger Echo one,” I replied. “Be careful. We will join you after we complete here.” After placing the trackers on the ship, testing them, and then deactivating them so they could be activated at a later date, Sydor and I slowly and cautiously headed to the opening Sara had described. Sqeeeeech, beeeep, SNAP! Came over the comms, I ripped out my ear bug, Sydor did the same. I check the frequency and there was still static, “Switch to alternate comm. Frequency,” I told Sydor and we both did.

“Comms, check, Echo one, do you copy?” I said into the comms. No reply. Sydor and I had taken cover behind a large crate to try and reestablish comms.

“Echo one, this is Echo two, do you read?” I tried again.

Sydor had gotten out a frequency scanner but wasn’t getting any reading on any other frequencies. I wanted high ground. I didn’t want to walk into a trap. Our friends could be in trouble and we needed to hurry. Over head there was a catwalk that ran clear across the warehouse. Sydor followed suit as I connected my grapple to the end of my blaster and then shot it up onto a joint in the structure of the warehouse just above the catwalk. We both secured the lines to our belts and we were standing freely on the catwalk in less than a minute.

Once there I saw what Sara had seen. Apparently this warehouse wasn’t just a warehouse.  The separatists had built the warehouse inside the mountain. The warehouse was the entrance to whatever was going on in and underneath the mountain. Using the scope on my blaster rifle I analyzed the entrance. Grey and black mountain walls with smoke going up toward the top of the mountain but not escaping into the warehouse.

“Dimbo, there,” Sydor said and pointed just inside the entry way where two Imperial soldiers stood in front of Sara. Sara was on her knees and Xifer lay motionless at her side, his rifle three feet away from him.

“Dimbo, his chest isn’t…he isn’t breathing,” Sydor said with sadness in his voice. The Imperial officers were asking Sara questions and smacking her around a bit. I assumed they had killed Xifer when she didn’t respond.

Sydor and I made our way closer to Sara and the officers via the catwalk trying to get in weapons range. The smoke blocked a lot of my view, I could really only see Sara and the two Imperials, “I’m sure there is more then just the two Imps,” I said to Sydor. “It’d take more then that to take out Sara and Xifer.”

“Unless they got the drop on ‘em, and let’s be honest Dimbo, Xifer’s skill was ranged not hand to hand.” He was right, had we walked into a trap?

By now we could hear what the Imps were saying. “I’m only gonna ask you one more time, where is the rest of your team? How many of you are there? Why don’t you have unit markings?” The Imp had his blaster pistol pointed right at Sara’s head.

Sara’s reply made me smile, “Striker, Sergeant Major, Republic Army.” Then she spat blood on the Imp’s feet. That got her another kick to the chest. They had really done a number on her. Now it was time for me and Sydor to return the favor. We both dropped down from the catwalk onto a tall stack of supply crates and then made our way down to the ground level. I went right and Sydor left. The plan was simple, the moment before they kicked Sara again Sydor would throw a flash grenade at their feet. After it went off I would move in for the kill.

We were well in place when the Imperials tried again, “Where is the rest of your team? How many are with you? What detachment are you with?”

“This sure is a lovely warehouse you folks have, whatcha hauling?” Sara joked. Her joke was about to earn her a pistol butt to the face and Sydor was a millisecond away from releasing his flash grenade when a Rattataki dressed in black robes appeared from behind the smoke.

“Standfast Sydor,” I whispered into the comms.
“Gentleman, Gentlemen, that is no way to treat our guest, let alone a beautiful lady.” He turned his back to us and it was hard to make out the rest.

“Dimbo, what are you doing?” Sydor asked. I signaled to him to look at the man’s belt, where a silver hilt hung at the left side of his waist.

“Sith…” was Sydor’s only reply.

29
May
12

Taris part 14

Taris part fourteen

I walked away from Stalk’s dead body, over to his men I had killed. I had just shot a man in the head with no remorse. I couldn’t allow what had been going on here to continue; I couldn’t allow the Empire to continue to use this facility to hurt people. Calling in an air strike wasn’t an option, I wasn’t supposed to be here and I wanted to see it done for myself. I found two packages of explosives and rounded up all the frag grenades they had left. I set charges in all four corners of the lobby then timed them to blow in five minutes.

I went out to my speeder it was untouched, the rain still fell on my head as I drove about 500 yards away and waited for the blast. The explosion of yellow flame, dust and rubble made the outline of the building hard to see but when the dust settled I saw that the building was no more. With the cure and the data secure in my belt I headed back to base, in hopes of saving my friends. I made good time back to base, when I arrived they waved me right up to the door of the med center. I got off my speeder and went inside to give the cure to the base doctor and then I looked at the containment field, only one body still inside it was almost fully turned to a rakghoul and its arm was still badly injured. It was Alten. I saw Lechelle weeping over her mother’s body, Lynnda had not turned. Zotta came over put his hand on my shoulder and said, “She didn’t survive to make the transformation. There was nothing we could do.”

“I got the cure my friend, maybe we can still save one of them,” I told Zotta.

I went over to Lechelle who hadn’t notice me come in. The doctors had moved over to Alten and injected him with the Rakghoul cure. Lechelle turned and hugged me, “Dimbo I’m so glad you’re safe.” She could barely speak with the heavy sadness in her voice.

“I tried to make it back in time Lechelle, I’m…I’m so sorry.”

“Me too Dimbo…” she replied. With the sadness plainly on my face knowing she had just lost her mother I did all I could do, I held her.

“Miss Lechelle, your father is conscious again” the doctor said. The cure had reversed his transformation. She quickly went over to the containment cell. Alten spoke to her, I’m not quite sure what he said but she looked at me and then turned to him and shook her head, they embraced and he called for me.

Lechelle stepped away crying, knowing her father was dying. The serum had returned his form but his body had been through to much.

“Dimbo, I…I want–no, I need you to take care of Lechelle. I know she will be safe with you.” Alten whispered as he spoke

“I’m sorry Alten, I tried to get back in time… I tried to save you.”

“It’s ok son, take care of Lechelle now.” I nodded and he put his head down and passed. Lechelle began to weep harder, she lost both her parents on the same day and I had done all I could do to stop it, but failed. I gave the doctors the data on the Rakghoul cure serum from my holo, with that and the other vial they should be able to begin synthesizing it soon. Lechelle had collapsed on the floor exhausted from crying and the devastation of losing the only two people she had ever loved. I called T7 on the holo and told him to meet us at Alten’s store. I picked up Lechelle and carried her out of the Med center and to her fathers store, her store now. No one spoke the whole walk there. T7 met us outside of the store, I took Lechelle inside and laid her on a cot in the back, she soon passed out asleep and I posted T7 to guard her until I returned.

While Zotta and I walked to the command post I told him of my adventure and of what I had found in the Medical building. Of the agent, the cure and of Stalk. I told him everything. And when we got inside I repeated the story to General Garza and Zotta’s Master, I left out the part about Stalk surviving the battle though. That was my memory to bear.

Garza was silent while I told her of all I had found. She was surprised to hear of the Imperials setting up long term operations of Taris.

“Well Lieutenant, I doubt the agent you killed was the only one hanging out on Taris, we will need to double security for the time being.” I nodded in agreement. “And excellent job on finding the cure for the Rakghoul plague, that will prove most helpful during our growing colonization of Taris. I was sorry to hear about your friends,” she finished.

“Thank you General,” I replied. Zotta hadn’t spoken, he just listened and felt my pain.

“Well Lieutenant, on another note T7 was able to assist in uncovering a promising lead, the whereabouts of ‘the General.’” Zotta said.

“Really?” Garza and I said at the same time.

“Yes this was the first opportunity to bring it up. T7 was able to pick up on a lot of comm chatter. Corellia came up a lot in the chatter, enough times to warrant us making a trip to check it out.”

“I agree,” Garza said. “With Stalk dead the Imperial forces will retreat for the time being and with that your mission on Taris has come to an end.”

“General, if I may? I’d like to request a few days off to deal with some person matters. After which we will catch the next transport toward Corellia.”

“Sure thing Lieutenant, I expected as much. No need on the transport ship though, I have something on its way to you right now that should help with your travels. Think of it as a bonus for dealing with the issue on Taris in such a timely fashion. I expect a report when you enter the Corellian system, Garza out.”

The holo flickered off and I was left there with Zotta. With only my friend around I allowed a tear to roll down my cheek and then another, mourning the loss of Alten and Lynnda.

“Leftenant, do not be sad. They are one with the force now. It will be up to us to honor and remember them.” He put his hand on my shoulder to comfort me.

“You’re right my friend. Our group has grown larger, as has my responsibility.” We walked out of the command post, the sun shined through cloudy skies, it was mid day.

I walked back to Lechelle’s place and Zotta went to get us food from the mess hall. I entered to see T7 guarding the main room of the shop, near the door where Lechelle was laying on a cot. T7 had changed the sign outside the shop stating the shop would be closed until further notice. I sat by Lechelle, she was lying in bed but not asleep her face was still red and the tears had dried on her cheeks. She held the covers around her body, likely to never let go. Later that evening I was able to get Lechelle to move about. But she didn’t talk or eat much. Zotta went back to the barracks and I slept in a chair outside Lechelle’s room. The next morning Lechelle and I talked. I explained to her of my mission continuing to Corellia and how I wanted her to come with me.

“Lechelle, I’m so sorry I wasn’t back in time, I’m sorry I failed you, I’m sorry you are alone.’

Lechelle smiled and touched my cheek, “Dimbo, you didn’t fail me you did the best you could against all odds. And you gave me a few minutes with my father before he passed. I’m not alone, I have you and together we will press on. It will take some time but I’m looking forward to the adventure with you.”

“Thank you Lechelle I’ve enjoyed spending time with you. I would have been sad to leave you, I’m glad you want to come with me.” We kissed she smiled and then we just held each other.

Soon after Zotta called me on the Holo, “Leftenant, you need to get to the spaceport. You’re not going to believe this.”

“Roger.” I said, and then closed the channel. Lechelle and I got up and after Lechelle was dressed we made our way to the spaceport.

Zotta meet us outside of the spaceport. “Good morning Lechelle, Good morning Leftenant.” He said.

“Master Zotta, I wanted to tell you thank you so much for your help in trying to save my parents.” Lechelle hugged Zotta, who in turn hugged her back and then bowed to her.

“It was my honor Miss Lechelle, I am sorry for your loss. Your parents are one with the force and I know they were proud of the young women you have become.”

Lechelle nodded.

“So what did you call us down here for?” I asked my Jedi companion.

“Wait till you see this Leftenant.” Zotta waved for us to follow. We made our way through to busy spaceport full of merchant, soldiers and new arrivals of all sorts. We arrived at a military hanger door. When they saw Zotta and I approaching they saluted and opened the door. Standing in front of us was a BT-7 Thunderclap Republic assault spaceship. It was white with yellow markings, the ramp was down and T7 came wheeling out from under it.

“Zotta?” I said, unable to take my eyes off the ship. “Leftenant, I believe this is the ‘bonus’ General Garza was referring too.”

Lechelle walked closer to the ship and said, “Wow, Dimbo! This is a BT-7 Thunderclap, it’s equipped with state-of-the-art armor plating, heavy laser cannons and a modular shield system, not to mention the speed on this thing, and that’s just the outside.”

Zotta and I looked at Lechelle with raised eyebrows.

“Oh, sorry. Um yeah, before we came here Dad sorta taught me a lot about ships. He was a hell of a mechanic; he taught me most of what he knew. There isn’t much I can’t do with a couple of wrenches and some elbow grease.” She smiled and made her way over to give the Thunderclap a closer look.

I laughed a bit and Zotta and I went over to check my new ship out.

After looking around I knew Garza had out done herself. “She’s just arrived Leftenant, straight from the ship yards. I’m having T7 look over a few things but we should be ready to get underway tomorrow evening if you’d like.” Zotta reported.

“Very well Zotta that sounds great. We will need time to load up the supplies from Alten’s shop and make sure T7 sweeps twice for any bugs.” I replied.

Zotta nodded.

Lechelle turned her attention away from the ship toward Zotta and I and said, “Oh that would be great perhaps I can do some trading on Corellia while you and Zotta perform your mission. I’ll go pack.” She smiled and made her way out of the hanger.

I headed over to personnel to get Lechelle added as part of my team. She was going to need access if she was going to be around the military portions of my duties. After getting everything squared away with personnel I went to the barracks to pack up. Zotta was there packing as well. “I thought we’d spend tonight on the ship.” I told Zotta.

“I was thinking the same thing.” Zotta replied.

Later in the afternoon with help from loader droids we loaded up Lechelle’s trade goods and personal belongings onto the ship. I assigned quarters giving Lechelle what would be my private room, while Zotta and I took up residence in the bunkroom area of the ship. It was a simple six man bunkroom nothing fancy but more then enough room for Zotta and I. We stowed our gear, there wasn’t a lot said between the two of us. Zotta was more than used to silence, me lost in my thoughts of the events that had transpired. I walked around the ship watching T7 doing various checks and sweeps. I located the armory and took a good inventory. Garza had done us well.

Later that evening we ate chow at the Mess hall, hopefully for the last time here on Taris, and afterward I received a call telling me we could bury Lynnda and Alten tomorrow. I told Lechelle in her private room and she cried a bit but she knew they were in a better place.

The next morning we got up and went out to a cemetery the Republic had setup just outside of the base. We buried our friends, Lechelle’s parents, in the Taris soil. Not much was said. Lechelle was thankful for those last moments with her father and that was enough. With everything done we made our way back to the ship for preflight checks and departure.

Zotta sat next to me in the copilot seat, me in the pilots chair, calm as ever and Lechelle behind us at the nav station. With all of T7’s checks done we where ready to get off this rock, we cleared the planet’s atmosphere in minutes and with T7’s help we made the calculations for the jump to hyperspace. Our adventures on Taris had come to an end while new adventures on Corellia awaited us. I pressed on the controls and we made the jump…

08
May
12

Taris part 13

Taris Part Thirteen

The rain fell steady on me as I sped through the jungle of Taris, other than me the jungle seemed empty. Rakghouls and wild life alike must have moved into shelter from the rain. I was riding full speed through the rain and jungle, easing on the throttle only to wipe the rain from the visor of my helmet. It took two hours to get to the facility, which seemed like an eternity when your friends were dying. I was able to ride all the way to the front of the building, no rakghouls in sight.

The once tall building was now half a building with ruble piled around it. A large doorway still intact looked to be the only way inside, I approached cautiously. No doubt this was where the rakghouls would come to seek shelter from the rain. I entered the through the doorway into a large lobby area, dimly light from the light coming through the cracks in the walls. The lobby looked as you would think, furniture and ruble scattered about, every thing in disarray. There were rakghoul marks on everything, but dim security lights still lit on the walls. This place still had power. An old directory still stood against one of the walls. Scanning over the holo-display I saw “Research facility fifth floor –Restricted–”

That had to be were the serum was kept. “Breathe” I told myself.  Calm yourself. Don’t allow your feelings to distract you from the task at hand, words Zotta had told me in our short time together repeated in my head. I cleared the rest of the lobby and found a doorway to the stairs. The stairs where clear of rubble mostly. I slowly made my way up the stairs and got to the fourth floor. The stairway was blocked, it was caved in. Looks like I was going need to find another way up to the fifth floor, as I had moved up from floor to floor, the stairway had gotten darker and darker, the security lighting getting dimmer and dimmer.

I opened the door to floor number four and expected to see pitch black. That was, unfortunately for me, not the case. I opened the door to see a brightly lit hallway with power lights running waist high, all the way down the hallway.

“What the…” I said aloud.

I followed the light down the hallway it was nice, carpeted and had been well kept. Someone was here and it wasn’t rakghouls. I came to a door with an entry pad on the wall next to it. I was about to get out my slicing kit when I thought, I wonder… I pressed the enter button and the door opened up, no one was supposed to be here so why would they lock the place? I walked into the laboratory filled with kolto tanks, most empty a few with rakghouls inside of them no scientists though. Weird.  Next to one of the tanks was an Imperial marked case and I looked around inside it, I read the words I had hoped to find, “Rakghoul Serum Cure”. “Imperials! Stang!” I needed to see what they were up to. Why were they here? Was Stalk or ‘the General’ with them? I opened the case to find 2 vials full of serum they looked like two doses. With what I came for in hand I decided to do a little recon. I went to a computer terminal and started searching, mission statements, authorization codes, formulas for the Rakghoul plague cure.

“If they had this cure why hadn’t they sold it yet? It was more than funding their war efforts” I said aloud.

I had completed a download of the formula for the cure and other Intel I thought would be useful when I heard something behind me. Whatever it was it was good, moving softly in the shadows trying to get the jump on me, but I wasn’t about to let that happen again. I placed the vials and the data disk securely in my utility belt but continued to type on the holo terminal as if I was looking for something, waiting for my would be attacker to close the distance.

I breathed and showed every interest in the terminal in front of me at the last second when I heard the faint sound of a virboblade being unsheathed I spun around drew my rifle to the hip and blasted a hole in my would be attackers mid section. The blade that was meant for my back fell, unused, to the floor and my attacker stammered back a step and collapsed.

My would-be attacker was no scientist; he was plain clothed wearing what anyone who wanted to fit into a crowd would wear. But he was no civilian not with the viroblade and the blaster rifle he was carrying. He was Imperial, probably Imperial Intelligence. I searched him for anything vital he might be carrying but I knew better. If he knew I was here it was likely others did too, I needed to get out of here. I made my way over to the door and checked the hallway, empty; I then proceeded to the stairwell. I cleared the stairways just as I had before and made my way into the lobby. I hadn’t taken three steps when lights flashed on overhead and standing in front of me was Stalk and about twenty of his men. The empty, dimly lit lobby I had been in not two hours ago was fully lit and full of soldiers ready to kill me.

“Ah Lieutenant Dimbo, we meet again, I must admit, I’m surprised to see you again after the present I left for you at my previous place of employment.” Stalk smiled as he spoke, plotting my death. I survey my surroundings; I really didn’t have time for this. It had been almost six hours since I left and it was going to take another two to get back to base.

“Hello Stalk, I have to admit I’m impressed with your setup here, manufacturing a cure for the Rakghoul virus is no small feat.”

“Well Dimbo, the serum was still intact when my science team came here. Now manufacturing it to be used as a weapon? That was difficult, which is why you need to die! You blew up that batch that was going to turn the war in the Empire’s favor! I had planned to expose people inside the spaceport and military base, so the rakghouls would over run it.”

While he spoke, I listened, careful not to make any sudden movements. I was standing next to a big semi circle shaped reception desk that was going to be my best choice for cover when the blaster fire started. Stalk continued speaking, “But no matter, soon you will be dead and my new batch of Rakghoul infection serum will be ready to deploy to the spaceport.”

“So your science team came here first to setup shop, they never reported back in causing the Republic to think they had been killed by Rakghouls and then the Republic classified this area level Black?, And then you were free to continue your research?” I said.

“Very good Lieutenant, I had no idea there was a brain under that thick skull.” Stalk joked. I didn’t laugh, I was a good soldier and because of that I was going to be the only one walking out of here alive.

“Well I guess there is only one more thing I need to know then.”

“And what is that?” Stalk asked, he turned to laugh with his men certain of my soon demise.

Like it was part of my body I raised my rifle, launched two frag grenades at the group of soldiers waiting to kill me. Out of my belt I grabbed a concussion grenade and threw it at the feet of Stalk. I jumped behind the reception desk as the soldiers that were still standing returned fire. They had been so confident in their numbers they had left themselves exposed in the open. Secure in my cover I began my attack. Standing up from behind the desk I launched two more frag grenades and began my barrage of blaster fire as blaster bolts raced past my head. Like paper targets these sorry excuse for soldiers went down where they stood. I watched as Stalk, who had recovered from the concussion grenade crawled across the floor like a Kath hound trying to escape from the fight. One of the soldiers managed to close the gap and attack me from the left, I activated my new boots Alten had provided for me and he went flying across the room and was impaled into a piece of rebar sticking out of the ruble. Stalk had made it to the stairway door, in his attempt to escape. I launched a Frag grenade directly at him and he landed next to a pillar and the pillar collapsed on his lower body he lay there motionless. Five soldiers remained, they coward behind a pile of ruble, I could see the fear in their eyes; they were rethinking their defection to the Empire. I launched another frag grenade between the five and after they explosion they fell motionless to the ground.

I walked over to Stalks body. I could hear his faint breathing and he started to cough, he looked up at me and said, “I thought you had another question.” He spat blood at my feet.

“I do,” I pulled my side arm from my hip and aimed it straight at his head, “Where can I find ‘the General’? Tell me and I’ll end you right now, no suffering.”

Stalk looked at the muzzle of my blaster and laughed, “You wouldn’t leave me here, it’s your duty to take me before the Senate, I need medical attention, take me back with you and I’ll tell you everything.”

“Stalk I’ll find ‘the General’ with or without you, if you want to die with clean conscience, tell me.” I looked at him straight faced, I knew I’d never make it back in time carrying him on my speeder if I wanted to save my friends I needed to leave. There was no way I was taking him back with me.

Stalk pressed his lips together in a sign of not saying anything else. I pulled the trigger on my pistol and walked away without a second thought. Stalk had died a traitor to the Republic; he didn’t deserve the chance to stand before the government he had sworn to protect.

02
Apr
12

Taris part 12

Taris Part Twelve

The next morning I awoke alone, in a room in the cantina, Lechelle and I had spent the night together. It was such a good night. She had worn a green gown that hugged her body, I more then noticed her slim figure as we walked into the cantina to see the band and dance. We danced, laughed, talked and drank. Then we kissed and kissed some more and that lead to getting this room.

But Lechelle wasn’t here anymore, I think she got up early to open the shop but I wasn’t sure, we had had a great time and I had drank a little more then normal; my head ached. I got out of bed and gathered my things. I checked for any personal items of Lechelle’s but found none. I went back to the barracks showered and headed to the Mess hall. Zotta was no where to be found so I figured he had went to eat without me. I got a tray of food and found him sitting alone at a table near a window. It had just started to rain outside when Zotta said, “Late night last night huh?”

I smiled, “Lechelle and I went to the cantina and listened to the new band.”

Zotta started to say something about attachments when Lechelle burst into the Mess, a couple of sentries where running after her, “Miss you can’t be in here, Miss!” she had changed into her normal cloths and she looked worried.

“Dimbo!” she yelled, “I have to find him.”

I stood up, “It’s ok sentries, I’ve got it, I’m over here Lechelle.” She sighed relieved to have found me.

“Dimbo, they’re gone…they’re gone and I can’t find them.”

We walked down to Alten’s store, while Lechelle told me and Zotta what had happened. Lechelle’s parents had left on a trading run, destined for one of the civilian colonies deeper into the Taris jungle, a small group of aliens and humans trying to make it on their own. From what I had heard in my short time here the colony had struggled at first but was doing very well. Lechelle told us that her parents had left the afternoon before and were supposed to be back in time to open the shop this morning. She had tried to reach them on the holo, and the civilian colony reported they had left hours ago, more then enough time had passed for them to have been back. This pretty little Twi’lek was crying tears running down her face.

“Please help me Dimbo, they are all I have.” Weeping onto my shoulder she hugged me.

I sat Lechelle down when we got to her parents store, I hated to pull T7 off analyzing the message of Stalk in hopes of a finding lead, but Zotta and I would need his help on this mission. I raised him on the holo and told him to prep our speeders. I contacted the civilian colony to get the trader caravan’s last known location. I sat down next to Lechelle, “I’ll find them Lechelle don’t worry. Stay here at the shop, don’t leave, I’ll call you on the holo when I have news.” I hugged her.

With tears still running down her blue face she smiled and simply said, “Thank you.”

Zotta and I turned and left the shop, we broke into a jog, with the rain failing on us, all the way to our speeders.

T7 was already waiting on the droid platform so we hoped on and took off. Zotta didn’t need any explanation, innocent people that we both knew were in danger and we were willingly to risk our lives to save them.

We traveled through the green luscious jungle of Taris south of the spaceport mostly on dirt roads or make shift paths. But this area was mostly unsettled. Only the monthly trading caravan ever traveled this way. There were trees growing out of building rubble and the rain was still coming down. We traveled toward the last know location for about an hour and finally came across the caravan. We got of our speeders and walked toward the caravan, T7 started to scan the area. Blaster fire came from the caravan over our heads. We ducted down and I yelled, “It’s ok, we are friendlies, Lieutenant Dimbo here, and we are here to help.”

“Dimbo? Dimbo! It’s me Alten come quick Lynnda is hurt.”

I ran over to where Alten’s voice had came from, when I saw him I knew instantly he had been infected, part of the flesh on his left arm had been ripped off, it hung limp at his side. Zotta looked around for more survivors while I tended to Lynna. She had a bump on her head and one broken left. She was unconscious and had flesh missing from her thigh.

I surveyed the site, one of the transports had gotten stuck on a tree blocking the road. “What happened?” I asked, as I gave Lynnda a kolto pack, my field medic skills where basic at best, Lynnda needed a doctor and fast.

“Well our transport got stuck so we all got out to clear the road, and they just came out of no where…The rakghouls so many of them all at once. We never had a chance.” He cried as he held his mate.

“It’s ok, we are going to take you back to base and get you both fixed up. Lynnda’s vitals are stable we need to hurry.” T7 moved to turn our speeders around and brought them a bit closer Zotta pulled me aside after I had tended to Alten’s arm.

“Dimbo.” He said, I knew he was serious because he didn’t call me ‘Leftenant.’ “Dimbo they are infected with the rakghoul plague, I don’t think we can risk bringing them back to the spaceport.”

“I know my friend, but it’s a risk I’m willingly to take, we can keep them safe until we find a cure, medicate them or something to slow down the transformation we have to try.” I pleaded with Zotta.

“Ok, there might be something I can do to help,” he replied.

We got both Lynnda and Alten loaded up onto the speeders and headed for base. T7 messaged ahead and when we arrived at the entry of the base they had a decon route setup for us to follow leading us straight into an isolated section of the medical center. Medical droids and doctors in hazmat suits appeared and started taking reading, sampled and they worked to treat the open wounds of both Alten and Lynnda.

I called Lechelle on the holo and she said she would be at the med center in minutes. The chief medical officer pulled me and Zotta aside, “Lieutenant, they are most certainly infected with the rakghouls plague, I can sedate them, but that will only delay the transformation they will turn into rakghouls in the next eight to twelve hours unless something can be done. And with the mother’s wounds she might not even make it that long.”

I looked away from the doctor to see Lechelle appear in the door way. I could tell by her eyes she had heard enough. Lynnda and Alten had been moved behind an isolation field, Lechelle could only watch now as her parents slowly became monsters.

I walked over behind her and put my arm around her side, she turned to me and said, “Is there anything the doctors can do? Anything anyone can do? I can’t lose them Dimbo, they are all the family I have.”

I didn’t know what to say, there wasn’t anything I could do. No base I could storm, or hide out I could sneak into, there was no cure for this disease.”

“Dimbo, I believe there is something I can do to help.” Zotta spoke, “I can meditate to help stop or delay the spread of the disease it might give them the entire twelve hours but there is no guarantee, I can only try. Someone will still need to find a way to completely stop the disease from spreading.”

“Ok, Zotta you do that and I’ll work on a cure.” I said. Zotta walked over to Lynnda and Alten, dropped to his knees into his meditation stance and started his meditation. I left Lechelle so I could think across the room.

A cure. How was I going to come up with a cure in twelve hours for a disease that no one had been able to cure in the 300 years of its existence here on Taris. It hit me like a truck, Snap! Wait 300 years ago someone did come up with a cure, but it had been lost in the destruction. What did that soldier on the transport say when he brought Zotta and I back to the base after being trapped by Stalk? Something about that old medical facility having a cure, I called him on my holo, “Sergeant, this is Dimbo, listen I have an emergency here and I need all the info you’ve got on that medical facility most Ricky-tick.”

“Sure thing LT,” he said.

The sergeant moved over to this holoterminal, our holo channel still active.

“Let’s see, the hospital was on the upper city of Taris, below that the under city, not a lot in here. It was Viper blade territory before the bombardment some Mandalorian girl Bounty Hunter armed with a lightsaber wiped out the Vipers, killed their leader and all the thugs jumped planets, sorry LT, I’m looking.” He scrolled thought the know info, “Here we go, like I said before, the doctor there was reported to have found a cure to the rakghoul disease hours before the Sith bombardment. Now fast forward 300 years later, one research team went into the facility in search of the cure but were never heard from them again, that area is now overrun with rakghouls and classified as level black, no entry.” He turned away from the holo screen to look at me.

“Send that info to my T7 droid now! And thank you so much soldier, I owe ya a brandy next time I’m at the cantina.”

“Sure thing LT, but you’re not planning on going in there are you?”

I cut off the transmission; I knew what had to be done, for my friends Alten and Lynnda and for Lechelle.

My holo rang, it was a technician from the command post, “Lieutenant, I’m working on the Stalk recording here in the command post, we think we have a breakthrough we could really use T7’s help.”

“I’ll send him right over,” I said and closed the channel, looks like this is going to be a solo mission. I messaged T7 to get over to the command post, and I went back over the Lechelle, her blue face was a shade of red from crying, tears still on her cheeks. I kissed her forehead. “Lechelle, I’m going to go find something to help your parents. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

“Where…where are you going?”

“To an old medical facility to find a cure.”

“There’s a cure? Oh Dimbo please be safe and hurry back,” she said. I could see the concern for my safety but at the same time the worry for her parents in her eyes.

“I’ll be back as soon as I can, stay strong we’ll get through this, I’ll always be here for you Lechelle,” she kissed me, sobbed and then turned to sit by her parents.

It was mid afternoon, I walked out of the med center, took my speeder that T7 had uploaded the location of the old medical facility in and headed into the jungle, rain still hitting my head and the wet ground around me. I had to be back before the dawn.

21
Feb
12

Taris part 11

Taris part Eleven

I woke up the next morning refreshed; our trip back to base had been uneventful. The three of us went to the command center, and sent in a holo of our report.  Zotta and I went to the mess hall and then straight to bed after eating. T7 stayed behind in the command center to analyze the Stalk transmission, I turned the rakghoul transmitter over to the technicians for study, hoping maybe it could provide some sort of a lead.

Because we didn’t have a lead on Stalk, I didn’t have much planned for the day. I thought I’d spend sometime in the command center researching Stalk, and ‘the General.’ And if I found some free time I’d go see Lechelle.

Stalk and ‘the General’ graduated form the academy together; ‘the General’ quickly rose through the ranks in the chemical research and development division.  Stalk managed to follow in is wake, a true lackey. Other then that there wasn’t a lot of information on the two of them, neither of them had taken part in any major conflicts. Actually they had both managed to come to Taris after the big battle between the Empire and the Republic to help with the resettlement of areas affected by the war. While looking through more records I noticed wherever they went some sort of epidemic would follow only to be miraculously cured later on. Looking back on the data, it was plain to see they’d been experimenting on those left in the wake of the war, in environments where viruses would naturally pop up. This explains why so much of ‘the General’s’ work was able to go straight into the field with minimal testing. He was testing on civilians with out the Republic knowing about it. I now knew exactly the kind of man I was dealing with, someone who would do anything or hurt anyone to get the job done.

Finding him was not going to be easy. T7 told me they still were not able to get an exact location based on the transmission of my conversation with Stalk, so I went to the Mess hall for lunch.

After chow I headed down to Alten’s shop to see if I could find Lechelle. I’d had quite an adventure since the last time I saw her, I thought maybe we could go back to the range or do something more intimate. I walked through the base; it was a cool day with a light breeze as the sun poked in and out of the clouds and the tree lines. The base was busy, new buildings going up, new recruits were arriving at the spaceport and others leaving for their next assignment. The Senate wanted to rotate out a good portion of soldiers of Taris to minimize any spies Stalk and ‘the General’ might have in our ranks. When I arrived at the shop Alten greeted me with a warm hello.

“I heard of your adventure Mr. Dimbo.”

”With the rakghouls? Oh it’s all in a days work on Taris.” I replied.

“Oh that too,” he laughed, “I was referring to the range with my daughter. She told me she had a good time and is becoming quite a shot.”

“Oh thank you sir, I’m glad she had a good time, I was hoping we could do it again sometime, perhaps now?”

“Well yes, yes of course, but first I have something for you.” He moved over to a cabinet behind the main counter. “After your recent encounter with the rakghouls, I acquired these just for you. They should be perfect for keeping the rakghouls at a better distance away from you.”

Alten reached down and pulled out a plain white box and handed it to me.

“What is it?” I asked and I set it down on the counter.

“Open it,” he replied.

I opened the box and inside were a pair of boots, similar to the ones I wore now. White military grade with a compartment for a small blaster on the right and a food and water ration in the other. These boots however had one small difference, attached to both boots were small sonic devices used to knock anyone in close radius to the wearer back.

“I’ve heard about these boots, Alten, but no one had been able to get the blast radius right, do they work?

“Of course, my good friend I tested them myself,” he replied.

“But where? How did you get them?” I questioned.

“I traded for them,” he said “An experimental engineer came into town this morning and I just couldn’t pass them up. They work, I tested them myself. The guy said he’d been trying to sell the idea to the Republic for sometime but couldn’t get approved for field test because of funding problems due to the war. I told him I knew just the soldier for the job.” While Alten spoke I looked over the boots, they seemed safe enough.

“Try them on Dimbo,” Alten said.

I took off my old boots and put the new ones on. I adjusted the size for a snug fit and walked back and worth in front of the counter.

“Let’s go out back and try them out,” Alten said. He led me out the back of his shop where he had six barrels of water set up in a circle. “Stand in the middle,” Alten said.

I walked over into the circle.

“Download this program into your wrist holo,” Alten said and handed me a datapad. I did and a command prompt showed up on my holo display. Alten took cover back in the doorway and said, “Hit it!”

I was a little nervous, I didn’t feel like spending the rest of the day soaking wet or worse spend it in the infirmary because I got knocked on my head. I braced myself for an impact I was sure was coming and pressed the command button. A pulse wave erupted from my boots knocking back all the barrels of water a good eight to twelve feet. I didn’t even get wet. The barrels exploded with water against the back of Alten’s shop.

“Wow, these things are great!” I said.

“And they run off the same power packs as your blaster rifle,” Alten said.

“Well, Alten, how much do I owe you?”

“Dimbo my friend, they are a gift.”
I shook my head, “No my friend, I cannot accept them, you have done to much for me already.”

Alten started to argue but he could see in my eyes, that I wasn’t budging. We settled on a price and I paid him. The boots would be a good upgrade to my current arsenal.

Lechelle came outside smiled at me and Alten walked back inside in shop.

“Hello Dimbo, it’s good to see you again,” she said.

“It’s good to see you also, I was hoping we could hang out today, go to the range or what not.” I thought to myself ‘please say yes.’

“Well actually I heard they opened up the cantina in the space port with a new music act. It sounded like fun, if you feel like dancing.”

“That sounds perfect, when do you want to go?” I asked.

“Let me grab my things.” She went back inside the shop.

25
Jan
12

Taris part 10

Taris part Ten

Zotta and I quickly turned toward the door of ‘the commanders’ bunker. When I opened it we heard a strange siren noise as we exited the bunker. I turned to look at the top of the bunker and there was a mini transmitter dish producing the noise we were hearing.

“What does it do?” I asked Zotta.

T7 had moved inside the walls of the camp and wheeled himself over to us. He showed me the scans of Rakghouls approaching. There wasn’t much time, we needed a way out. As I looked around Zotta said, “The transmitter must be attracting the Rakghouls.”

I looked at Zotta. “I guess this is the surprise Commander Stalk had planned for us.” I told T7 to get the main doors on the camp closed, “That should keep the rakghouls out long enough for us to find a way out of here.”

I made my way over to a cargo hauler. Then suddenly Zotta yelled, “Watch out!” The Jedi jumped next to me, force pulled T7 toward us and the walls around the camp exploded, with me and my companions in the middle of the camp. The explosion was monstrous; Zotta enclosed us in a force bubble that prevented us from being burned alive. But even in the bubble I could hear the rakghouls howling and growling; they were waiting for us.

In the commotion I noticed Zotta had also used the force to grab the transmitter dish. “If you could be so kind as to turn off the transmitter Leftenant.” Said the Jedi, straining to keep his force bubble shielding us.  A quick blaster bolt made short work of the transmitter.  I took it and had T7 stash it in one of his storage compartments. It might come in handy later.

Once the smoke cleared we could see what was left of the walls that would have helped protect us from the Rakghouls. The Rakghouls were all around. We had our work cut out for us. Zotta dropped the force bubble drew his lightsaber, igniting its blue blade. T7 lowered a compartment shield to expose his blaster and opened another compartment that held a mini flamethrower. My companions knew we were in for a fight.

The rakghouls, despite the transmitter being shut off, were still coming toward us. The noise that the transmitter dish had made must have pissed them off enough that they were coming, explosion or not. The sounds of the transmitter dish had brought the biggest rakghouls I had ever seen; bigger then the ones I faced just days before. These stood six to eight feet tall, had greenish gray skin, razor sharp claws on both hands, vicious long teeth, and they were foaming at the mouth ready for battle. They closed the distance between us in seconds. Zotta forced leaped into the middle of the group slicing down two of the beasts when he landed. He then force pushed one beast into another in an attempt to control the rate at which they advanced. T7 used his jet pack to hover above a group that had rushed him spraying them with fire and finishing them off with a blaster shot.

Seeing my companions flow so easily into combat empowered me. I launched two grenades into a group of rakghouls on the other side of Zotta, careful not to give my companions anything else to worry about.

With a group this large the best tactic was to slow them down. Zotta was doing a good job at that and with my added barrage of blaster fire, our enemies slowed their advance. However, the number of rakghouls was overwhelming. How much longer could we keep this up? I continued to shoot at the rakghouls and they fell one by one, carefully placing grenades as needed. Zotta, still slicing through the rakghouls, used the force to grab pieces of debris and hurled them at the incoming enemies.

It seemed as though we had been in combat for hours, but it had only been a few minutes. Time slows down in battle and there isn’t a lot to think about other than staying alive and keeping your friends that way also. I’d say we had killed thirty to forty of the monsters judging by the bodies that surrounded us. T7’s scanners had picked up at least fifty initially and there were at least that many left now. They had us surrounded and were closing in. Unless a miracle happened we were not going to last much longer. To die in battle didn’t scare Zotta or I.  I could feel his strength flowing through my body. We fought bravely together and the bond formed on the battle field could never be broken. We were no longer Jedi and soldier, or friends, he was no longer my subordinate; we were now brothers.

From my left a big, ugly, grey rakghoul lunged at me. I drew my vibroblade, stabbed it under the chin into its brain and flung it on the ground next to me. The rakghouls had corralled us back to back to back and then just as the rakghouls closed in and it looked liked all was lost, a Republic transport ship flew up from the horizon. The doors on the side of the ship opened and pointing right at us were two very large assault canons. They started shooting to my left and right, clearing away what was left of the rakghouls that had surrounded the three of us. I was relieved. I’m not sure we would have made it out alive if that ship hadn’t shown up when it did. The sounds of the transport’s engines and seeing their kin fall in the battle caused the remaining rakghouls to scatter back into the forest.

The transport raised me on my holo audio only. “This is Airbird zero-five, calling Havoc…come in Havoc.”

“This is Havoc, so nice of you boys to show up. Thank you!” I replied.

“We saw the explosion sir, figured we’d come check it out. What’s this about Stalk going rogue? We got a message from your T7 droid.”

“Can you set down and give us a lift back to base?” I asked.

“WILCO,” the pilot replied.

They set the bird down about 100 yards away. Zotta, T7 and I made out way over to the door of the open transport, climbed in the cab and the door sergeant gave the order to take off. I put on a head set and said, “Thanks again. You guys really saved our hides back there.”

The flight back to base gave me a different vantage point of Taris. I could see out the windows of the transport and high above the trees. I could see wild life roaming and the large ruins of what must have once been the upper city. I spoke to the door sergeant and pointed to a ruin. “What’s that?”

“Oh, that’s the old hospital. Some say they found a cure for the Rakghouls disease there hours before the Sith destroyed the planet.”

Interesting, I thought. “And that looks like an old ship?” It wasn’t far from where I found Lechelle and her parents days before.

“Oh, that’s the Endire Spire. She went down prior to the Sith bombardment too.”

We continued our flight back to base and as I looked around at the 300 year old destruction I realized something; this planet has a lot of healing left to do, and I can only hope that my time here on Taris will help with some of that.




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